Hello there, I am new here and was looking for some advice but before you do let me tell you my story:
Two weeks ago my boyfriend of two years was told that he was on the autistic spectrum, this did not come as a shock to me as I knew he had dyspraxia and correct me if I'm wrong there are a few similarities or it's also a part of the autistic spectrum? We haven't had the best two years, we have had out ups and downs for example: June last year he ended things two days before we were meant to go on holiday and just left me in his house with his parents and I didn't see him for 6 weeks. We managed to work things out and he explained that he felt like a bad boyfriend as he found being in a relationship overwhelming and hard to understand as he overthinks every little thing that would just go over my head and it's unpredictable. I told him that if we both want this relationship to work then we both need to work at it.
Since we've been together I knew he also had mental health issues due to childhood memories and bad relationships so I knew it would take time for him to feel safe with me but I was also on guard due to him just leaving me out of the blue a few months back (he really broke my heart) fast forward to now, him and I moved in to a house owned by his parents this was to see how he would cope in the adult world, his mood has been low for a few weeks and he has spoken to me about it saying he's hearing voices and is afraid he may have schizophrenia. I told him that I am here to support him through anything. He ended up leaving our home on the Sunday saying he needed space and I respected that (I read that people with autism need some space and alone time) when I came home on the Thursday I found a half typed (which I'm sure his mum typed), half written letter ending our relationship for the same reasons as before and saying he doesn't think he can never hold a relationship and that he loves me.
I am obviously devastated as I don't think this is the answer but I don't know what to do, I haven't seen him since he left last Sunday and he hasn't been texting me either (unlike last time) everyone including his parents are telling me to walk away but how can I walk away from the man I love? I want to be there to help him through anything but he's shut down everything and is not communicating with me! What do I do?? Do I walk away? Is there no hope?
His mum doesn't help the situation as she has always picked up the pieces that he has left behind, he has never had to or been encouraged to stand on his own two feet or take responsibility, he has been molicoddled by her for 25 years, I understand that she is his mum but I don't think that this has helped him or encouraged him to try and stand in his own two feet.
Thanks in advance, your advice will be very helpful
I know this is probably not what you want to hear and of course it is just my personal opinion based on what I've read of your situation, but if he has walked away from the relationship then you have to accept that. The fact that he has a diagnosis doesn't change the reality that when one person says the relationship is over, it is over. I know heartbreak is awful and when you love someone it is the worst feeling in the world to walk away. But if he has expressed that he doesn't think he can be in a relationship, and he isn't contacting you, then (at least for now) it's over.
You probably want answers and want to better understand why he feels and thinks the way he does. It's really difficult to say because everyone on the autism spectrum (just like everyone who isn't) is unique and an individual. He may not even know himself, and maybe he is even making this decision for the wrong reasons. But that doesn't change his decision. Maybe he will contact you again in the future. Maybe, if he does, you will be in a different place in your life and have some perspective on the relationship.
I've been in a relationship for 20 years. We've worked at it, we've had our ups and downs. But neither of us have ever, ever had to run after the other person to make them stay in the relationship. We've actually discussed this and we both agree that the relationship only exists as long as we both want it to.
You have to think of your own well-being too. You deserve someone who really, whole-heartedly wants to be with you - without hesitation, without reservation. I know you want to be there to support him through anything and everything, but what about the support that you need?
Thank you for your advice
He might have done this to protect you. I don't believe it is necessarily about rejecting you and wanting to be alone. He wrote he loves you. It is about fear of being a burden. This thing about voices needs to be clear. Did you know about this? Is that a new thing for all involved? It is best to take control of all issues like this before entering relationships. It is probably right that he needs to step back and get on top of this voices issue. He needs some time to get on top of that and be ready for the next step in his life.
I don't necessarily agree with Flont's view that relationships are on or off. You know relationships are very ambiguous and unscripted, you create them as you go along, both people do, and people do mutually run one after another in real relationships. I was in a few long multiyear relationships that were not at all simple black and white on or off. It all depends on how he sees himself, his motivation and determination to lead a full independent life.
If you need closure, probably it's to be certain that he exhausted his aspirations and genuinely doesn't want to grow further. His mental health crisis or his family or his insecurity are temporary. You may give him a little time.
When I was young I dated a man who I now know probably was autistic. We were in similar jobs and lifestyles, he was very high functioning and wanted to find a partner. We were not really compatible, but not at all because of his autism. Biggest factor was his toxic family. They aggressively protected him and were over controlling of me and him and were mixing religion in it, which I now understand were their way to protect him, but the result is that they isolated him. I've seen him many years later, a middle aged man single walking with his mum. Not what he wanted. At some point families need to let go and let him dive in and hurt a little as all relationships do. Aspies need to dive in the deep end of life, only they can do it.
If he reaches back to you, and you are still interested, help him to emancipate as it were.
But you need to cut your losses too, as in all relationships. It is up to you.
Thank you for your input ️ he only told me about the voices around 2/3 weeks ago! He said that he started suffering with this when he was 18 and he was on medication but had to come off the medication as it used to make him very drowsy and couldn't get on with his uni work!
I have tried to understand as much as I can, I have read books about autism and dyspraxia so I can sort of understand what goes on in his head.
Regarding what you said about the man you knew and is now a middle aged man with his mum, his mum is so controlling! She runs his life and his dad's, when I lived with them for a bit she had her opinions with me too, she's a perfectionist and doesn't appreciate what she got which rubs off on him! He tells his mum more things than he ever told me! I know she's his safe place but how was I meant to pick up on his moods if he wasn't telling me! He even told his mum his decision to break things off and she text my mother to say that he'd left me a letter, she does everything for him, she even cuts his toenails!! She cried to me and said she wants him to have a normal life but how is he meant to have a normal life when she can't let go! We were living together for a month and he didn't see her for 4 days out of that month! She made sure she saw him either by meeting him to go to doctors appointments or just popping into the house, she even attends his therapy sessions!
I really do love him and we had such a good relationship, we laughed so much and we were so connected. I just don't think that is the answer, I know I sound stupid
What I picked out from all of this was the fact that he’s hearing voices and may have schizophrenia. The evidence suggests that unfortunately schizophrenia is much more common in individuals with Autism than it is in non-autistic individuals (1 in 8 as opposed to 1 in 100 according to the last paper that I read on the subject). Is there a possibility that these episodes where he leaves you for a number of weeks correlate to him possibly having a psychotic episode? Has he ever been formally diagnosed with schizophrenia? Is there a chance that he has been diagnosed and his parents are aware, so he goes there for a bit, goes back on the antipsychotic medication and basically sorts his head out then comes back to you once he’s feeling better? People with schizophrenia can experience all manner of strange and bizarre internal states of reality as well as suffering from crippling paranoia this can lead to ‘odd’ behaviour. Is it possible that he is simply not able to cope and needs to hide out until he feels better as well as trying to protect you from it?
I see lots of red flags in what you've said - if his mother/family are so involved with his life to that extent and he lets them do all sorts of things for him, I think he'll find it too difficult to split himself away from them.. He sees them as total safety and a mental sanctuary away from the world. I think he will have difficulty transferring his trust and safety needs into someone else long term.
The additional MH problems with voices may be difficult for him to deal with.
I admire your wanting to be with him - but I think you may be making a rod for your own back if you want him back.
I'm not sure! He just said that he was on medication but then stopped them after a bit because he was completely out of it.
It's mostly his mum, the dad never had any input in his up bringing, the mum, gran and aunt took control of everything.
That's what I was trying to say, if he has psychotic issues, he needs to get that under control and keep under control. I don't have any experience with that, but many people live on medication apparently. The key is to stay medicated, otherwise things go wrong.
He needs to want to break away from that and his mum needs the self awareness to let go, otherwise it is very sadly too toxic for anyone. Is his mother control freakiness autistic or is it more like narcissism?
Remember you need to look after number 1, yourself. You can't take on a controlling toxic family.